If there is one thought going through my mind at the moment, it is how influential the online book community has been to my reading and book buying habits. It’s something that has always been on my mind but it is starting to become more prevalent and bothering me to the extent I’m not sure whether it is good or not.
I cannot deny that the online book community has been good for me and given me a space where I feel comfortable in speaking so freely, but it is so powerful that I often feel overwhelmed by its presence and the opinions it generates. By this I mean jumping on bandwagons, falling for hype, reading only what’s popular etc, not issues within the literary world that are constantly disappointing and angering readers. I believe there is a time and place for the latter and more often than not, I’m not well versed enough to contribute to whatever is going on.
Nonetheless, this is about popularity and sometimes I feel so caught up in it that I forget my own initial reasons for reading certain books and starting this blog. I wanted to share my love of books, what I’d read, what I liked and disliked, but I’ve noticed over time that most of the interaction I get with my book posts is when I’ve talked about my feelings pertaining to the popular books that a lot of bloggers and Booktubers mention. Sometimes there are a couple of posts that break this pattern, but I always wonder why that is the case and I can’t think of an answer.
It might be a years old concept and fact of life for me personally but it does make me think. It has always generated that fear of missing out, even when I know it is not really something I want to participate in or follow.
It especially gets to me with the popular books and authors of moment. When I first started blogging and watching booktube, it was John Green, Rainbow Rowell, The Lunar Chronicles, The Raven Cycle, Shadowhunters, The Hunger Games, Divergent, Throne of Glass…
What struck me though is not my hit and miss relationship with all of this, it was that I was seeing not much else besides. Because of that, it felt incumbent upon me to join the crowd and read what everyone else was reading. I knew from the start that The Hunger Games wasn’t my kind of dystopian so I passed that trilogy by but I lapped up everything else. The thing is. only a few impressed me. I did not at all see the hype for any of John Green’s, Rainbow Rowell’s and Maggie Steifvater’s books. I still don’t, and it makes me question why I was following everyone else’s lead instead of trusting my own judgement, because I know that most of the books wouldn’t be something I’d otherwise like. The Lunar Chronicles, Shadowhunters, Divergent and Throne of Glass did however appeal to me and I mainly have a friend of mine to thank for getting me hooked everything but The Lunar Chronicles, however I wonder if these would have been books I’d pick up on my own accord, like I did with The Grisha Trilogy.
I don’t know if any of this makes much sense and I suppose what I’m trying to say is that following the crowd is not always the right choice.
I know I often do things differently and sometimes I’m uncertain whether it is worth it. It’s a double edged sword because you’re noticed for being part of a crowd, and at the same time noticed for not being part of a crowd. It’s something that I experience every day in varying ways and hovering between the two gets tedious and tiring after a while. I use reading and blogging as an escape but when I find myself in the same position, it’s no where near the definition of an escape.
One thing I want to make clear is that I have no intention of giving all this up. I might have times where I don’t read and write much but the online book community is something I love with all my heart. Blogging in particular has given me a welcome place for me to be me and whilst I’ve had the odd bad moment between me and other members of the community (particularly when I got annoyed at something in The Raven Cycle and I got anonymously attacked on Tumblr for my subsequent vent) it has never had any bearing on continuing to blog and share my feelings on books.
I think what my ramble is getting at is that the days of me picking up books due to their hype and popularity are over. It can still have a bit of influence but the reasons behind reading and blogging about a specific book or series have to remain instinctual.
This can be said for everything. We have more belief in something if we trust our instincts and go along with what we think is right, even if it is not what everyone else is going.
What do you think?
How much does popularity influence you?
Thanks for reading my ramble. I don’t know if I actually made a point, or that it even made much sense but it was something I had to get off my chest.
Have a brazzle dazzle day!